Monday, February 23, 2009

Savory Squash Risotto (vegan)

When I think of comfort, I think of coconut milk, butternut squash and brown rice. Yes, I have discovered comfort in a bowl. I first started making this dish last fall when butternut squash was pouring out of the ground. Scents of fall filled the house all day long after baking squash and pumpkins. I decided to post this recipe because it is one that is close to my heart and seriously helped me make it through the winter thus far. I tried to stock up on farm-fresh butternut squash so that I could have enough until January, but I ran out a few weeks before Christmas and have even went to the local grocery store to buy frozen squash to make this recipe yet another time before spring. Now to be honest I never grew up eating squash, or coconut milk and fresh sage, so I am not sure why I consider this "my comfort food" of choice. I guess maybe because it reminds me macaroni and cheese, adult style, and without the cheese of course. Whether you think you like squash or not, try this recipe and I guarantee it will keep you warm and grounded for the rest of this winter season. 

Savory Squash Risotto
2 small or 1 large baked squash
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh sage
handful of fresh parsley
2 ts. of  fresh or dried thyme 
sea salt to your taste
fresh ground black pepper 
olive oil to drizzle

Bake the 2 small butternut squash or 1 large in the oven for 1 hour on 400 degrees until it is soft enough to cut into. After peeling the skin off the squash put the pieces into the blender or food processor with one can of coconut milk. (either the 60% less fat kind or regular. Blend until it becomes a pudding like substance. Add a little water if you need to get it moving in the blender to smooth better.

Saute 1/2 cup of onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic in about 2 TB of olive oil in a large pan or medium sized pot. Make sure not to burn the onions or garlic, keep them just transparent  Add in the pudding squash/coconut milk mixture and keep it cooking.

Add in the chopped sage, parsley and thyme. I like to add in a lot of herbs to have full flavor, but use as much or as little as you want.

Add in sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season as well.

I let this cook for about 20 minutes, being careful not to burn.

It is that easy! Yes! I pour this over brown rice pasta, or mix it with brown rice to make a risotto. I always like to save some of the fresh herbs to sprinkle on top, along with a healthy topping of pine nuts. 

Hmmm, comfort in a bowl.

Enjoy and cuddle up with a loved one to stay warm tonight!

Other options for ingredients:
If you don't have enough butternut squash, I have mixed some acorn, or other winter squashs in the mix and it turned out wonderful as well.

I have used frozen winter squash that you can buy at the grocery store in place of from-the-garden and baked at home still turns out great.

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